Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just Because You Saw It On TV Doesn't Mean You Should Do it

Okay, so that title applies to many of the reality, adventure, and stupid people trick shows out there today.  I'm specifically targeting the many DIY shows out there today.  We spent about 4 months working on our house before we had to move in because we'd sold our old house.  Once we moved in, and got the cable hooked up, things slowed down significantly.  We joke that we watch more DIY than we do now.  But, we're also far more qualified than lots of the yahoos out there pretending they know what they're doing.  Rather than being amused by their pratfalls, we get frustrated that people who don't even own a hammer are allowed on these shows!  Construction is dangerous, and can be deadly, if you haven't the slightest idea what you're doing!

There are some really great shows on PBS, HGTV, and DIY, like This Old House, Holmes on Homes, or some of the bathroom and kitchen renovation shows where there's a licensed contractor involved either doing the work or working right alongside the home owners.  Then there are some of the other shows like Renovation Realities where many of the home owners don't know up from down and should be licensed to use a sledgehammer.  And what's with the people who use an axe for demolition?  Unfortunately, on most of these shows, the couples seem to have rather precarious relationships that only get worse as they start blaming each other for everything that goes wrong.  There's no fun to be had here!  In fact, these shows should be precautionary tales to people with no experience who think renovation sounds like a good idea.  Don't do it!  Leave it to the professionals!

Or how about Family Renovation.  Why would anyone think it would be a good idea to remain in a house while major (adding a third floor!) renovations are taking place?  Let alone someone with 5 young kids?  Somehow they thought the contractor would just stay out of their way while they do as they please: waltzing around barefoot with staples, nails and other sharp objects on the lawn and in the house; breathing in dust and mold from construction and a flooded basement; wandering wherever they like oblivious of what's going on over their heads or being thrown into the dumpster beside them.   Most every episode of the show illustrates child endangerment.  On the part of the parents, not the contractor.  What were the parents thinking?  And how many people watch these shows and think it might be a good idea for them to do the same thing?

Do It Yourself renovations take time, money, knowledge, and guts.  You can get the knowledge by reading, watching TV, or working with an expert.   Know your limits.  If you don't have the knowledge (or the guts), don't do it!  Hire someone who does and take on other projects yourself.  For us, that meant not climbing on the steep roof, 3 stories up, to fix the shingles and repoint and flash the chimneys and hiring an HVAC professional to install our new boiler and some new radiators.  Expensive to hire professionals, but well worth it for our health and safety!

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